If you’ve reached a plateau with your treadmill workouts, a great method to break through to the next level of fitness is to incorporate High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) into your workout program. Many treadmill users set a speed after warming up, and stick with that same incline and speed for the duration of a workout. Or perhaps you use the pre-programmed option on your treadmill, which automatically varies the incline at points along the workout program, while keeping the speed constant. Inserting HIIT in place of the steady jog or even the pre-programmed options will punch your training past that plateau and up to the next level.
Punching Past the Plateau
Your body may be smarter than you give it credit for, and chances are it “knows” what to expect when you get on the treadmill. You have already conditioned it to be prepared for your regular workout. But when you give it a shock by adding High Intensity Intervals, your body will respond with a jolt of energy from a new source–namely, from burning stored fat. Your regularly performed program of fitness has been a great way to keep you at a steady state of fitness, but if you want more than status quo, you’ll need to give your body the jolt that sends it into higher gear and starts burning that fat.
Kicking up your workout to a higher level will engage a different type of muscle fiber in your limbs, known as fast-twitch muscle fibers. The fast-twitch fibers are specifically designed for brief but powerful energy bursts, as opposed to the slow-twitch fibers which your steady workout has been using up until now. The slow-twitch fibers function for endurance, and don’t burn nearly as many calories as their fast-twitch counterparts.
How to Hit the HIIT
Begin your new workout program by selecting a setting that you find sustainable for not much more than a minute (with your hands off the rails). This will be your work interval, and you’ll intersperse one-minute intervals at this setting with two-minute intervals at a “recovery” setting. Each pair of work and recovery intervals is a single cycle, and your total workout should consist of five to eight of these cycles, preceded by a warm-up and followed by a cool-down.
One of the beauties of High Intensity Interval Training is that it’s an accessible program for any treadmill user, regardless of fitness level or current treadmill settings. The designation of a “high intensity” interval is entirely personal, and is measured by whatever level of speed or incline pushes you at your current state of fitness. For some, it may be a faster power walk or breaking into a jog, while for others it may be closer to an uphill sprint. In any case, it’s a setting you can determine for yourself, based on your own current fitness abilities–and one which you can adjust upward as you punch past your current plateau.